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Steven W. Ledbetter
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Steven Ledbetter’s Answers

133 total


  • Found an attorney's bill which states he made a trust for my deceased parents, I have tried talking to the PR (my sister).

    She is also trustee of various trusts. As it is just my sister and d who are sharing everyhting equally as far as the other estte documents go, and she is refusing to answer me on this one, how can I go to court and allege on just a bill? BTW- th...

    Steven’s Answer

    I am in agreement with the previous answers, above. Your explanation of the facts is quite limited, but regardless, it would be prudent to have a local attorney review the matter and do a little digging around the current probate action for which your sister is PR. An initial one-hour consult should not cost much and many attorneys offer them for free.

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  • What is the proper manner of recording an easement?

    We purchased a parcel that had a sort of DIY split and easements from a larger parcel in its past. The owner who did the split recorded the egress/ingress easements in the deeds of the burdened parcels ("less the east 25 feet for ingress/egress")....

    Steven’s Answer

    You raise good questions, and those questions explain the need for licensed Florida real estate attorney. As I'm sure you know, it is more often much more costly to fix a DIY than do it properly with professional help in the first place.

    It is difficult to fully answer your question, but I will say this, as it applies in many DIY situations and probably to yours: there is never a problem until someone gets angry or the next owner steps into the shoes of an original party. This situation will most likely go to court somewhere down the line (and be costly) if it is to enforced without willing parties.

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  • Who has to sign the Quit Claim Deed in Sarasota County, FL?

    Does the Grantor and Grantee sign and how many witnesses do you need? Can the notary be a witness?

    Steven’s Answer

    Grantor signs. 2 witnesses. Notary can be one witness, but if so, needs to sign in both spots (as witness and in the notary block).

    NOTE: Quit claim deeds sever title insurance. I would recommend you get an attorney to prepare a proper warranty deed. Plus, they can assist you with paying for document stamp taxes.

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  • Owner financing

    We are considering purchasing a home through owner financing. What happens if the owner dies before mortgage is paid off? Or can this be stated in the contract? If the owner holds the note, are we actually the owners where can homestead the hom...

    Steven’s Answer

    To address your questions: If the seller gives you a Deed and takes back a Promissory Note, then you own the home and the seller essentially retains a secured "I.O.U.". Via this method, I recommend you use an attorney as your title company, since typically an attorney will not charge attorney's fees and merely act as title agent for the transaction (that's what I do). It's like getting a free attorney. In this scenario, If the Seller dies, then the Promissory Note will be inherited/devised through their estate (e.g., via their Will). You own the home, however, and can claim it as your homestead and make improvements, depending on the terms of the mortgage.

    Alternatively, if you are considering a Contract For Deed scenario, I highly recommend that you retain an attorney to do a title search and look into title insurance on the Contract For Deed. I recently encountered the scenario where there were tax liens on property my client bought via Contract For Deed but have not been cleared; therefore, there is a chance they could lose the property.

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  • Transferring real estate title (ownership)to a living estate agreement

    signing over my one third interest in a two family house where i live to my stepson in exchange for living the rest of my life there.

    Steven’s Answer

    First, I must echo Attorney Goethe's comments. I can't recommend enough simply having an attorney look over your plans with regards to real estate and estate planning. Often the two overlap, as it sounds in your case, and it is always easier and cheaper to do things correctly the first time than attempt to remediate a mistake thereafter.

    Second, it sounds like you are referring to a life estate deed. If such is the case, then there are various formats this can take. A deed of this sort prepared by an attorney should not cost very much money, and likely there will be no charge for a consultation similar to the that my Venice, Florida office encourages.

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  • How can i keep my house??

    I purchased a house with my wife 5 years ago.The money came from my mother in law.My wife was to sell her house and pay her mother back.i being a contractor was to upgrade the property part time.This is now done.My now ex wife has now sold her hou...

    Steven’s Answer

    Based what you're saying there are a number of moving pieces here that will require further investigation, including: Are you in default on the note granted to your Mother-in-Law (MIL)? How is title held on the current property? Why are you moving out? What does the divorce decree call for? And, most importantly, what are your goals? Based on the answers to these questions there are numerous alternative paths from which you can choose.

    Additionally, while there are a number of legal issues that need to be addressed, I always remind clients to analyze their situation in relation to their goals and the costs involved. Unfortunately, your fact scenario is rather complex due to a crossroads of real property law, lending law, and family law. If you would like to consult further on this matter, feel free to contact my office to set up a free initial consultation.

    Note: The response given is not intended to create, nor does it create an ongoing duty to respond to questions. The response does not form an attorney-client relationship, nor is it intended to be anything other than the educated opinion of the author. It should not be relied upon as legal advice. The response given is based upon the limited facts provided by the person asking the question. To the extent additional or different facts exist, the response might possibly change.

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  • Can you force a home sale if three people own house and one wants money.

    My mom passed away and her will left her home to me, my sister and my sister's son (my nephew). My sister retired a year early to care for my mother at home and she passed away. The house is now deeded to me, my sister and my nephew. My nephew now...

    Steven’s Answer

    • Selected as best answer

    Mr. Goethe lays out the basics quite well. And I concur with the above attorneys that a suit for partition is an expensive process. Further, in these market conditions it is highly unlikely that a forced sale will net much money, at all, and this is after all court costs, attorney fees, and existing mortgages are paid (you mention not wanting to take out a 2nd mortgage, so I'll presume there is a current mortgage in place). You nephew does not sound like he has actively researched this matter or consulted with his attorney.

    There are a number of other things that could be strategically discussed, though I do not feel they are appropriate to mention in this forum. Feel free to contact me to set up a free consult.

    The response given is not intended to create, nor does it create an ongoing duty to respond to questions. The response does not form an attorney-client relationship, nor is it intended to be anything other than the educated opinion of the author. It should not be relied upon as legal advice. The response given is based upon the limited facts provided by the person asking the question. To the extent additional or different facts exist, the response might possibly change.

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  • Partner's rights in a C Corporation

    I have a C corp 50-50% with another person, I am an officer and president of the company, he is not, he does work for the company and receives a salary for it. I would like to know what are the extend of his rights to intervene in the daily ma...

    Steven’s Answer

    There are a number of salient questions to ask in order to provide you with proper advice, and therefore the above poster's general advice is right on the money. It seems to me that a preliminary one-hour consultation with an attorney would be perfect for you. Bring along your corporate book to help the attorney explain the way your company is set up and operates (bylaws, etc.)

    The response given is not intended to create, nor does it create an ongoing duty to respond to questions. The response does not form an attorney-client relationship, nor is it intended to be anything other than the educated opinion of the author. It should not be relied upon as legal advice. The response given is based upon the limited facts provided by the person asking the question. To the extent additional or different facts exist, the response might possibly change.

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  • I purchesed a house in Florida. the closing is in two weeks. I like to back out from the deel. Beside loosing the down payment w

    t else can I expect?

    Steven’s Answer

    I concur with Mr. Phillips' initial assessment. A review of your contract is the first step, as that will control. Thereafter, there may be additional steps you can take to mitigate your losses in instances where the seller has not met there contractual obligations.

    I'm just around the corner in South Venice and would be happy to provide assistance. A 30 minute consultation is free. Please call if I can be of assistance.

    The response given above is not intended to create, nor does it create an ongoing duty to respond to questions. The response does not form an attorney-client relationship, nor is it intended to be anything other than the educated opinion of the author. It should not be relied upon as legal advice. The response given is based upon the limited facts provided by the person asking the question. To the extent additional or different facts exist, the response might possibly change.

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  • Corporate question

    Construction corp. 2 shareholders @ 50/50. In biz for 4 years. I'm the licensed qualifier. 2nd shareholder idle for most of past year, He's been totally idle past 3 months. I feel like he's dragging me down. I want to split but don't want to re-in...

    Steven’s Answer

    I agree with the poster above. In setting up an entity I always ask my clients what they'd like to have happen if it has to end in an untimely fashion.

    In addressing your issue directly, you would want to draw up a dissolution agreement that includes how to handle the outstanding debts and assets. In anticipation, you could create a separate entity, do an asset transfer with the original corp. for the tools and other tangible/intangible assets, and then the original corp. could pay off its debts and dissolve. Fairly straightforward, based on the information you provide. Note: it would be illegal to "unilaterally cut him out"; you need to be aware of corporate procedures, etc. and not be "penny-wise and dollar-foolish".

    Feel free to give a call to set up a free 30 minute consult. I'm just up the road in Venice.

    The response given is not intended to create, nor does it create an ongoing duty to respond to questions. The response does not form an attorney-client relationship, nor is it intended to be anything other than the educated opinion of the author. It should not be relied upon as legal advice. The response given is based upon the limited facts provided by the person asking the question. To the extent additional or different facts exist, the response might possibly change.

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